A Guide to Sorting Waste

Why should waste be sorted?

The more developed a society is, the more waste it produces. This means that the amount of waste created increases over the years and Estonia or Tallinn are no exceptions. More waste means more consumption and waste of resources. Sorting and recycling waste is essential to slowing down this process. Doing this means that our next generations will also have the resources they need for life. Most of the waste created can be sorted at home. The more waste we sort and the more we recycle, the less waste we throw into containers and the less we have to pay for waste transport. All in all, sorting waste is cheaper for consumers. Most of the waste created in households consists of packaging, leftover food and paper. People should at least separate paper, packaging, leftover food and hazardous waste from other waste in order to save natural resources.
NB! When you put packaging in the bin, you pay double, because the price of packaging waste management has already been added to the product!

Rules of waste transport

Every apartment association or individual household has to enter into a waste management contract with a waste transport company. Waste containers must be emptied often enough to avoid overfilling and the emergence of bad odours and pests. Pursuant to the Waste Act, containers in densely populated areas must be emptied at least once a month. This is why a container of suitable size that corresponds to the quantity of waste created must be selected (residential houses are permitted to use bin bags).

How to sort waste?
The following must be put in the paper and cardboard container:

  • Newspapers, magazines, catalogues, advertising materials;
  • Notebooks, printed and blank stationary and drawing paper;
  • Envelopes, books without covers;
  • Cardboard boxes, paper bags and other clean paper packaging.

The following must not be put in the paper and cardboard container:

  • Soiled or wet paper and cardboard;
  • Household paper;
  • Used paper plates and cups;
  • Cardboard drink packaging, Clingfilm;
  • Foil and carbon copy paper.

NB! A container for paper and cardboard must be obtained for all registered immovables with at least 5 flats and for institutions and companies that create more than 25 kg of such waste per week. Waste paper created in residential buildings with fewer than 5 flats and residential houses should be taken to the waste station.

The following must be put in the container for biodegradable waste:

  • Meat and fish waste, fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetable peels, bread, precooked food, bakery products and confectionery, cheese, butter and margarine and other solid food waste.
  • Household paper, tissues, coffee grounds, paper filters, teabags.
  • House plants and cut flowers.

The following must not be put in the container for biodegradable waste:

  • Cooking oil, milk, sour milk, soup, sauces and other liquid food and foodstuffs.
  • Liquids.
  • Large bones.
  • Clingfilm, metal, glass, ashes, cigarette butts, packaging, waxed and laminated cardboard and other non-biodegradable waste.

NB! A container for biodegradable waste must be obtained for all registered immovables with at least 10 flats and institutions and companies that create more than 25 kg of such waste per week.
Food waste created in residential buildings with fewer than 10 flats and in residential houses must be turned into compost in a composter on the grounds of the house or placed into a biodegradable waste container. We advise people who care about the environment to compost their food waste in a composter. What must be kept in mind is that food waste may be composted only in a closed composter and not on an open pile.
Garden and park waste (leaves, twigs, grass, etc.) may be composted on one's own grounds in an open pile or taken to the composting field (Rahumäe tee 5a).

The following must be put in a packaging container:

  • Plastic packaging: yoghurt or butter tubs; oil, ketchup and mayonnaise bottles; packaging of cosmetic products (e.g. cream jars, shampoo bottles); plastic dishes and boxes; plastic bags and Clingfilm; other clean plastic packaging.
  • Glass packaging: glass bottles without tax labels, glass jars, other clean glass packaging.
  • Metal packaging: tins, metal lids and tops of food and drink packaging, other clean metal packaging.
  • Drink cartons: clean milk, juice and yoghurt cartons.

The following must not be put in a packaging container:

  • Packaging that is soiled with food or half-full, plastic toys, packaging of hazardous substances (e.g. household chemicals), aerosol packaging (e.g. hairspray), window glass and glass sheets, lighting bulbs.

NB! There are approximately 300 public packaging containers in Tallinn where packaging can be deposited free of change. If you put packaging waste in the same container as your mixed household waste, you pay double for its handling as the price of handing the packaging has already been added to the product.

The following must be taken to hazardous waste collection points:

  • leftover oils and oil filters, oily sweeps (up to 20 litres)
  • paint, glue, varnish and solvent leftovers in retail packaging (up to 10 litres)
  • mercury lamps (up to 10)
  • medicines with expired use-by dates and unusable medicines, other medical waste (up to 2 kg at a time)
  • chemical and pesticide waste (up to 10 litres)
  • mercury thermometers and other waste that contains mercury (up to 2 kg at a time)
  • batteries (in unlimited quantities)

NB! Hazardous waste can also be taken to waste stations and Lukoil petrol stations. There are 155 battery collection boxes for unusable batteries in Tallinn. Please call the Tallinn Helpline on 1345 or go to http://www.tallinn.ee/est/g2262s37983 for the locations of hazardous waste collection points, Lukoil petrol stations and collection boxes for unusable batteries.

The following must be taken to the collection points for used home appliances:

  • old and unusable household electronics and home appliances, e.g. fridges, washing machines, TV sets, electric cookers, blenders, irons, hair dryers, radios, etc.

NB! Incomplete fridges are only accepted for a fee of 10 €/fridge. Please call the Tallinn Helpline on 1345 or go to http://www.tallinn.ee/est/g2262s37972 or the Tallinn map for the opening hours and locations of used home appliance collection points.

Civic amenity sites (CAS) accept the following from people free of charge:

  • unprocessed food, scrap metal, plastic, large building waste (stones, concrete, etc.), paper and cardboard, usable old furniture, tyres (up to 8 tyres at a time), electrical and electronics waste (incl. fridges and TV sets), packaging, glass sheets, hazardous household waste.

Find the locations of Civic amenity sites (CAS) on the Tallinn map!

CAS name Adress Operator Information Open  
Artelli Artelli tn 15 Eesti Keskkonnateenused AS 1919 Wed, Th, Fr 14-19; Sat, Sun 10-15  map
Paljassaare Paljassaare põik 9a Kesto OÜ 639 5222 Wed, Th, Fr 14-19; Sat, Sun 10-15 *  map
Sõjamäe Suur-Sõjamäe tn 31a Ragn-Sells AS 15155 Wed, Th, Fr 14-19; Sat, Sun 10-15 *  map 
Pääsküla Raba tn 40 Eesti Keskkonnateenused AS 1919 Mon, Fr 14-19; Wed 8-13; Sat, Sun 10-15    map
Rahumäe Rahumäe tee 5a MTÜ Keskkonnateenused 602 6752, 529 3020 Wed, Th, Fr 14-19; Mon, Sat, Sun 10-15    map
Pärnamäe Pärnamäe tee 36 MTÜ Keskkonnateenused 602 6752, 529 3020 Wed, Th, Fr 14-19; Mon, Sat, Sun 10-15    map

CAS are closed on national holydays
* - CA sites are closed on national holydays and also day before holyday.

Last updated: 11.06.2014